Tom Brady is not the only key starter the New England Patriots are going to have to replace this upcoming season, as two others have opted out of playing due to the coronavirus.
According to multiple reports, Patriots starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower and right tackle Marcus Cannon have opted out of the 2020 season. They are two of four New England players who have opted out thus far.
Dont’a Hightower now becomes the fourth Patriot to opt out of 2020, joining OT Marcus Cannon, FB Danny Vitale and OL Najee Toran. https://t.co/NzfDCxgXEh
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2020
Hightower and his girlfriend, Morgan Hart, welcomed their first child earlier this month. Cannon is a cancer survivor who is in remission after beating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years ago.
Because of his medical history, Cannon will likely qualify as a high-risk medical opt-out and receive a $350,000 stipend. Players who opt out for non-medical reasons receive $150,000.
Hightower has been one of the anchors of New England’s defense since they drafted him in the first round back in 2012. He had a key sack and a forced fumble in the Patriots’ historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Cannon started 15 games for the Pats last season.
A total of nine NFL players have now opted out of the 2020 season, including one who had a coronavirus-related death in his family.
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While many quarterbacks have thrown passes for the New England Patriots over the years, this quiz only lists the signal callers who led the team in passing yards in the years displayed.